About Zentangle

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the creators of Zentangle define it as follows:

"Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Zentangle provides artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well being. Zentangle is enjoyed by a wide range of skills and ages and is used in many fields of interest."

I found Zentangle while searching the internet for quilling supplies.  I had taken some classes from a local quilling teacher, Mary Elizabeth Martin, and was looking her up online to see if she was still in the area.  When I found her website I noticed that she was teaching Zentangle classes.  It looked interesting but I thought it might be a fad like "paint by number" or "friendly plastic" so I didn't give it much thought.  Later that night I was thinking about it and looked it up again.  I found that it was a process by which you take patterns that are drawn "one stroke at a time" and draw them on a 3 1/2 by 3 1/2  paper called a tile.  The Zentangle process allows you to combine these patterns in a way that produces a beautiful piece of art.  The "process" is simply few guidelines that help you to be more creative and less inhibited with your art.  

At this point you might be thinking "These pictures are so complex and I don't even know how to draw". I urge you to try Zentangle anyhow because I was exactly the same way.    When I was young I always wanted to draw.  My father loved stationary stores and we would go often.  He would buy me sketchbooks, pencils, watercolors, brushes and all sorts of other fun.  I would go home and attempt to sketch but was always disappointed with the results.  Sometimes I would use templates because I liked the patterns I could achieve, but I never really thought of it as art.  Throughout the years I dabbled in origami, card making, soap making, candy making, quilling, crochet, stamping, knitting, and had a side career as a beading instructor, but I never gave up the desire to sketch.

In 1998 I became a 911 paramedic.  My first ambulance partner was an interesting (we'll just leave it at that) gentlemen who had a side business airbrushing large scenes of various things on the hoods of cars that were in specialty car shows.  In between calls on the ambulance he would sketch pictures of many things (although many of them were naked women!) and I remember always being so envious that he was artistic enough to create at a moments notice.  He tried to help me sketch but I never really caught on.  For many years I would look at the class schedules for the local junior college or the community classes that were available but the subject matter never interested me.  I knew that I was envious of people who could draw, but I didn't want to draw what they were drawing.  Enter Zentangle.

So after finding Zentangle on the internet I noted that it required only a few supplies.  By chance I already had the Micron pens that are used so I dug one out of my scrapbook supplies.....and left it on the coffee table for 3 days.  This was indicative of my struggles with drawing.  I was so scared of failing that it took me days to get up the nerve to even try a Zentangle.  On day three I grabbed a piece of computer paper and started drawing "tangles", the Zentangle name for individual patterns.  I loved how they came out and filled the whole page.    I remember my husband getting up the next morning and commenting on my "cool" drawings.  I know that you shouldn't worry what other people think about your art, but it's always nice when someone else appreciates your efforts and that little bit of encouragement was all I needed.  

I soon realized that it wasn't that I couldn't draw all these years, I just didn't know what I wanted to draw.  These small abstract drawings were a huge inspiration and my head was soon filled with possibilities.  I was soon seeing inspiration for tangle patterns everywhere, most notably nature and architecture.  It was like a whole new world had been opened to me.

So how do you get started with Zentangle's?  Start by visiting www.zentangle.com.  Here you will find the philosophy of Zentangle, find directions for many of the official Zentangle patterns and you can also locate a Certified Zentangle Teacher in your area.  I completed the course to be a Certified Zentangle Teacher in October, 2011.  I teach classes in Northern California, conduct home parties and am available for private instruction by appointment.    You can also search the internet for hundreds of easy to follow patterns from other artists.  There are also many links available on this blog to get you started in the right direction.  

Even if you think you aren't creative, that you can't draw, that these drawings are too complex, trust me, your wrong.  You can do this, anybody can, you just need to get started.  So grab a piece of paper and a pen and jump in.  I think you will be amazed by the results! 

1 comment:

  1. i am constantly amazed at the results! sometimes i don't like what i draw, but my daughter always encourages me to keep looking, to find my own style. i am going to the CZT seminar in august and can not wait! thanks for your blog, and for challenging us each week with the zendalas!

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